Taking Stock of Your Writing

If you piled all your writings together in one place how much room would you need?  A shelf, a closet, or an entire attic?  Think about all your journals filled with your poetry or musings, all your novel manuscripts, and maybe even published books.  How much space do they take?  It may be an eye-opening experience to give this taking stock exercise a try.

Photo by Simson Petrol

I had the opportunity to do this taking stock (by accident) when we moved to a larger home.  I only meant to shelve things so my office wouldn’t be cluttered, but by sorting all my writings into a huge closet in my office, I learned a few things.

1.  I had written a lot of words.

There was a lot of work stuffed in that closet and I felt a sense of pride that I was doing what writers are supposed to do.  I was producing words, thoughts, and stories.  I had proof I was writing.

2.  I submitted a very small percentage of the words I wrote.

I was stunned that I hardly ever submitted most of the work filling that closet.  That is a weakness that I need to fix.  Writers write, but they also submit.  I vow to get more of my work out into the world.

3.  I write in many different forms.

For someone who thought of herself as a romance novelist, it surprised me that I had completed more screenplays than novel manuscripts.  Nowadays I’m writing a lot of poetry, too.

4.  I need to purge some of this.

The biggest discovery from this exercise was the amount of paper—old drafts, manuscripts I’ll never submit, and other stuff that I don’t need anymore—still taking up my space.  The journals I plan to keep forever, I find good material in them.  But stories that I have no intention of revising… those should go, right?  How much of my previous writing do I really need to hang onto?  It’s hard to let this proof of my writerliness go.  Do you have the same difficulty?  How do you manage the paper?  Let us know in the comments.  Any advice will be appreciated  🙂

 

Sustain Your Creative Writing Habit

Sustain Your Creative Writing Habit New Online Class

photo by Kristin Hardwick

We’re all sheltering-in-place a bit longer than expected.  It is a challenging time causing hardships, isolation, and uncertainty. Now is also the best time to write!  Could you use encouragement to cultivate your writing practice? For beginners and pros alike this fun and encouraging class will motivate you and set you on a path for developing and sustaining your writing habit. Every week students will receive inspiring in-class writing exercises. Filled with tips and feedback (for those who choose to share their work) this class is perfect for writers eager to ignite their creative writing and those ready to learn the next steps.You’ll learn techniques of craft and tips for editing and polishing. You’ll end with plenty of new material, inspiration to keep your creative practice on fire, and knowledge of publishing opportunities for your work.

Class offered through Capitola Recreation Department. FMI or to register:

https://apm.activecommunities.com/capitolarecreation/Activity_Search/sustain-your-creative-writing-habit/7871

5 Meetings beginning May 11, 2020 and runs through May 25th.  LIVE classes on Zoom.

We’re all in this together.  Let’s write together.

Personal Writing in the time of COVID-19

In these times when the world seems to have turned upside down and many of us are facing hardships and isolation, it is also a time for self-discovery and writing. Through prompts and exercises you’ll dig deep to uncover personal meaning in your observations, beliefs, and experiences. This class is for fiction and nonfiction writers, memoirists, and poets who want to delve inward and write through fear and uncertainty and find personal growth in these challenging times. Come for the inspiration, mental exercise, and camaraderie. Some of the class time will be quiet for students to respond to and write to the prompts.

Class offered through Capitola Recreation Department. FMI or to register: https://apm.activecommunities.com/capitolarecreation/Activity_Search/7846

5 Meetings beginning April 13, 2020 and runs through April 27th.  LIVE classes on Zoom.

Writing class by Victoria M. Johnson

We’re all in this together.  Let’s write together.

 

New Class: Short Short Fiction Bootcamp

It’s Back to School Time for Writers!

Calling all fiction AND memoir writers… Come learn how to create very short stories, also known as short shorts and flash or sudden fiction. Flash stories contain all the elements of fiction and have the power of their longer cousins to transform the reader. Discover tried-and-true techniques, look at great examples and free your creativity to write your own short pieces. Memoir writers will benefit from the lessons, too. For beginners or pros, this is a fun and motivating class that will help you improve your storytelling skills. Following a lecture each week students will write new pieces based on the topics covered and prompts designed to incite your creativity. You’ll also learn editing tips and opportunities for publishing your polished works.

For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

Sep 5, 2018 to Oct 3, 2018

Held at Capitola Community Center from 5:30pm to 7:00pm.  5 weeks.

Meets Each Wednesday.
New short fiction writing Class by Victoria M. Johnson

It’s back to school time for writers! Photo by Scott Webb

Instructor Bio:Victoria M. Johnson is a published author and filmmaker. Her published works include The Doctors Dilemma (Avalon Books), the nonfiction work Grant Writing 101: Everything You Need To Start Raising Funds Today (McGraw-Hill), and four other books. Her poetry appears in online literary journals and print anthologies. Victoria is both writer and director of four short films and two micro documentaries. She has presented workshops on writing in the Bay Area; Chicago; Washington, DC; Vancouver, Canada; and New York.

New Class for Nonfiction Writers

** NEW Class! – HOW TO WRITE THE BOOK OF YOUR HEART **

Have you been thinking about writing a nonfiction book? Whether you’ve already started or only have the idea, this class provides the guidance and inspiration to get it written. Learn the secrets of bestsellers and how to implement those elements in your book. Gain an understanding of the writer’s craft and apply strategies to help you organize and revise your work – and get your nonfiction manuscript ready for publication. The motivating instruction, handouts, and in-class writing exercises will provide you with all the tools you need to write the book of your heart.  Santa Cruz area nonfiction writers, this class if for you!

For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

April 16, 2018 to May 14, 2018

Held at Capitola Community Center from 5:30pm to 7:00pm.  5 weeks.

 

New Class! How to Write the Book of Your Heart

Get inspired to Write the Book of Your Heart.  Photo by Milos Tonchevski.

Instructor Bio: Victoria M. Johnson is a published author and filmmaker. Her published works include The Doctors Dilemma (Avalon Books), the nonfiction work Grant Writing 101: Everything You Need To Start Raising Funds Today (McGraw-Hill), and four other books. Her poetry appears in online literary journals and print anthologies. Victoria is both writer and director of four short films and two micro documentaries. She has presented workshops on writing in the Bay Area; Chicago; Washington, DC; Vancouver, Canada; and New York.

 

Two NEW Workshops Coming in 2018!

Take a Workshop by Victoria M. Johnson

 

Jan 8, 2018 to Feb 5, 2018

Sustain Your Creative Writing Habit

Could you use encouragement to cultivate your writing practice? For beginners and pros alike this fun and encouraging class will motivate you and set you on a path for developing and sustaining your writing habit. Every week students will receive inspiring in-class writing exercises and optional homework. Filled with tips and feedback (for those who want feedback) this class is perfect for writers eager to ignite their creative writing and those ready to learn the next steps. You’ll learn techniques of craft and tips for editing and polishing. We’ll explore submission strategies and a variety of publishing options. You’ll end with plenty of new material, inspiration to keep your creative practice on fire, and knowledge of publishing opportunities for your work.

For more information or to register, click here.

Held at Capitola Community Center from 5:30pm to 7:00pm.  5 Mondays.

Any writers in the Santa Cruz, CA area will be interested in both of these workshops.


* One Day Only *  Jan 20, 2018

How to Write Your Novel in Two Weeks!

Discover techniques to write fast and get your first draft written in two weeks. Learn how to prepare for the two-week event, how to execute during the two weeks, and how to fine-tune your masterpiece. For beginners or pros, this is an exciting and motivating workshop that will help you improve your storytelling skills. Don’t waste years trying to get your novel written. Learn secrets to avoiding writer’s block and write your novel once and for all!

For more information or to register, click here.

Held at Capitola Community Center from 9:30am to 2:30pm.  One Saturday.

Instructor Bio: Victoria M. Johnson is a published author and filmmaker. Her published works include The Doctors Dilemma (Avalon Books), the nonfiction work Grant Writing 101: Everything You Need To Start Raising Funds Today (McGraw-Hill), and four other books. Her poetry appears in online literary journals and print anthologies. Victoria is both writer and director of four short films and two micro documentaries.  She has presented workshops on writing in the Bay Area; Chicago; Washington, DC; Vancouver, Canada; and New York.

 

How to Write a How-To Book

I’m offering a new How-To class for writers.  Space is limited.  Register today.

How to Write a How-To Book by Victoria M. Johnson

How to Write a How-To Book

Oct 30, 2017 to Nov 20, 2017

Do you want to write a book that will help people? If you have experience or knowledge in a topic for a book that gives instruction, guidance, and tips to inspire others then come learn how simple and fun it is to write a How-to book. How-to books are among the most popular with readers. They are seeking your wisdom and know-how to improve their lives. Discover the types of how-to writing and find the best one for your topic. The motivating instruction, handouts, and in-class writing exercises will provide you with a blueprint to write your own how-to book.

Register online NOW!   click here

Held at Capitola Community Center from 5:30pm to 7:00pm.  4 Mondays.

For More Information or to Register by Phone: (831) 475-6115

Instructor Bio:  Victoria M. Johnson is a published author and filmmaker. Her published works include The Doctors Dilemma (Avalon Books), the nonfiction work Grant Writing 101: Everything You Need To Start Raising Funds Today (McGraw-Hill), and four other books. Her poetry appears in online literary journals and print anthologies. Victoria is both writer and director of four short films and two micro documentaries. She has presented workshops on writing in the Bay Area; Chicago; Washington, DC; Vancouver, Canada; and New York.

Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed

While attempting to declutter my office–to make room for more necessary things–I came across a box of cassette tapes of workshops given by some of my favorite authors.  There was a time when I did not get in my car unless I had a cassette to listen to while driving.  Times have certainly changed for me because now I get in my car for silence.  The beautiful, though temporary, silence.  That box of cassettes got me thinking about what else has changed for me as a writer.  I began writing in the early nineties–not that long ago, I know–but I work so very differently now.  See if you can relate to any of these obsolete activities.

  1. I knew librarians not only at my branch but other branches, too. I often asked for help locating material for a topic I was researching. (Well, I still know my local librarian’s names but they don’t point me in the same direction they once did).  Back then, the source for research usually started with one of the big sets of encyclopedias.  Now libraries don’t carry these bulky sets. Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed
  1. I typed on a typewriter that had ribbons that needed to be replaced when the ink ran dry. We were poor (which is why I had an old typewriter) so I always rewound the ribbon and gave it a second, sometimes third, life before I replaced it. Read fellow author Sheila Claydon’s experience about typing her first manuscript.
  1. I befriended the copy store staff. I even had an account because I made so many copies they gave me a discount. Don’t forget we didn’t have multifunction printers in our homes.  Copies of chapters for critique groups, contest entries, and manuscripts had to be made at a copy store.  Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed
  1. I befriended post office staff. In those days manuscripts had to be mailed along with an SASE (self-addressed-stamped-envelope). The post office staff always inquired on what I was writing and mailing out, and I put one or two of them in my stories.
  1. Another thing I did was wait for the telephone to ring. Email wasn’t invented yet so writers either got a rejection letter by mail or an offer by telephone. This hopeful writer waited by the telephone, not the mailbox. Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed
  1. I never had to think about book promotion. This is a state I miss most about the early days of my writing career. I just focused on writing.  What a novel concept.  Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed
  1. I had a drink. If a rejection letter did arrive I would have a cocktail such as a frothy, salt-rimmed margarita and I called a dear friend for moral support and to commiserate with. Oh, wait. I still do that.

Popular romance author Leigh Michaels shares the nostalgia of her first home office (clickhere).  How about you?  What has changed in your writing life since you first started writing?  Share in the comments below.